More on newspapers’ use of social media

Well, now that I’ve discussed The Wall Street Journal/Dow Jones Co.’s  rules for social media to death, it’s time to take a peek at other newspapers’ policies. (Hats off to Steve Buttry for a post that alerted me to The New York Times’ and The Washington Post’s policies.)

The New York Times:

The New York Times says it likely won’t develop a Twitter policy per se, according a New York Observer story, but will use its guidelines  for Facebook. (Read the rules by scrolling all the way down at this link.) In general, they’re milder than WSJ’s:

“Facebook and other social networking sites  — MySpace, LinkedIn, even Twitter — can be remarkably useful reporting tools, as the Virginia Tech shooting in 2007 proved.”

But then they get just a wee bit paranoid, I think:

“Be careful not to write anything on a blog or a personal Web page that you could not write in The Times — don’t editorialize, for instance, if you work for the News Department.  Anything you post online can and might be publicly disseminated, and can be twisted to be used against you by those who wish you or The Times ill — whether it’s text, photographs, or video. That includes things you recommend on TimesPeople or articles you post to Facebook and Digg, content you share with friends on MySpace, and articles you recommend through TimesPeople. … Just remember that we are always under scrutiny by magnifying glass and that the possibilities of digital distortion are virtually unlimited, so always ask yourself, could this be deliberately misconstrued or misunderstood by somebody who wants to make me look bad?”

My reaction: Wow. Newspapers are really, really afraid of readers, sources, everyone. Good grief.  With this level of fear it’s no wonder readers might feel disconnected from newspapers.

The Washington Post

The Washington Post’s policy on social media, as explained in Editor & Publisher, includes:

  • Use good judgment.
  • Notify senior editors beforehand if you plan to Twitter or live-blog something you’re covering.
  • Don’t use new media to get into oral “fisticuffs with rivals or critics or to advance personal agendas.”
  • Don’t embarrass the newspaper or impair journalistic independence

These are fine to me, although I readily acknowledge that the full list that E&P published on WSJ’s rules is easier to pick on than a few snippets.

Now, here’s a policy I like.

It comes from Jamie Kelly, social media guide at The Gazette in Cedar Rapids, Iowa:

  • If you’re using an account for work purposes, identify yourself as an employee of The Gazette.
  • If posting something would embarass you or the company, or call your professional reputation into question, DON’T POST IT.

Succinct. Useful. Social. I love it.

Gina

Edit 10:13 p.m. May 14: Twitter friend alerts me of a typo: Used peak, when I meant peek. Oops. Fixed.

46 thoughts on “More on newspapers’ use of social media

  1. Thanks for the mention! I’m glad you liked it. I think succinct and letting people know you trust them is the way to go.

  2. Newspaper heads’ paranoia about social media is clearly why, in too many cases, they are afraid to embrace even the simplest of new media available to them. In some cases, this also leads to the unappreciation of reporters who embrace new media methods, because the boss doesn’t understand (or want to understand) the positives and put enough trust in reporters to let them run with it.

    Just another malady the j-world is stricken with …

  3. Pingback: More on newspapers’ social media rules: NY Times, Washington Post, etc. « Transforming the Gaz

  4. Amen. I agree with Gina’s views on the NYT. It’s exactly that kind of ivory tower approach that makes readers feel that “we are better than them.”
    One would think that journalists working at the NYT would have that kind of common sense anyway…
    Jamie’s hit the nail right on the head.

  5. So, NYT says it’s OK to use social media as long as you’re not socializing? Hmm …
    As usual, great post. Know of any other media (TV/radio) or PR policies, Gina? Just curious.

  6. @jan hennop

    Thanks.

    Unfortunately, the “ivory tower” approach isn’t unique to one paper. I think that distance is all too common.

    – Gina

  7. @Craig

    Good point.

    There is a lot of fear of social media at newspapers, I think, particularly among upper-level managers because they don’t fully understand them, and they worry they are losing control. And you’re right, the staffers who “get it” are stuck. They are eyed suspiciously or their time spent on social media isn’t valued. The result: Nobody even bothers to innovate.

    The thing is people who lead rather than manage have an easier time accepting what’s new and the pay off is increased innovation. That, to me, is an attitude change that newspapers need.

    – Gina

  8. If I had to sum it up, it would be:

    Be yourself, behave yourself, enjoy yourself, learn from others.

    Journalists shouldn’t have to be told not to misrepresent themselves, or embarrass themselves, or cheer on a political candidate or cause and think people won’t notice. But journalists shouldn’t have to be told not to plagiarize, either.

  9. @Brian Cubbison – Very true. One would hope journalists would know this because these were issues important long before social media was invented.

    – Gina

  10. Pingback: Newspapers needs leaders, not managers | Save the Media

  11. Pingback: Why don’t news orgs trust their journalists? « -30- | Adventures at the end of journalism.

  12. Pingback: Media organizations of the future | Save the Media

  13. Pingback: Improving newspapers | Save the Media

  14. Pingback: Should Journalists Be On Twitter? Three Quarters Of NYTimes Readers Don’t Think So.

  15. Pingback: Should Journalists Be On Twitter? Three Quarters Of NYTimes Readers Don’t Think So. | Cellphone Ultra

  16. Pingback: Should Journalists Be On Twitter? Three Quarters Of NYTimes Readers Don’t Think So.

  17. Pingback: Should Journalists Be On Twitter? Three Quarters Of NYTimes Readers Don’t Think So. | TechDozer.Com

  18. Pingback: Should Journalists Be On Twitter? Three Quarters Of NYTimes Readers Don’t Think So. | ScooperNews.com

  19. Pingback: Should Journalists Be On Twitter? Three Quarters Of NYTimes Readers Don’t Think So. | ScooperNews.com

  20. Pingback: Should Journalists Be On Twitter? Three Quarters Of NYTimes Readers Don’t Think So. | Nuze.me

  21. Pingback: Should Journalists Be On Twitter? Three Quarters Of NYTimes Readers Don’t Think So. | Viningmedia Nieuws

  22. Pingback: The Far Edge » Blog Archive » Should Journalists Be On Twitter? Three Quarters Of NYTimes Readers Don’t Think So.

  23. Pingback: Should Journalists Be On Twitter? Three Quarters Of NYTimes Readers Don’t Think So. | TopBlogs

  24. Pingback: Should Journalists Be On Twitter? Three Quarters Of NYTimes Readers Don’t Think So. | viTechnica

  25. Pingback: Should Journalists Be On Twitter? Three Quarters Of NYTimes Readers Don’t Think So. - BlogAngle

  26. Pingback: Should Journalists Be On Twitter? Three Quarters Of NYTimes Readers Don’t Think So. « IT and Software Development

  27. Pingback: Should Journalists Be On Twitter? Three Quarters Of NYTimes Readers Don’t Think So. | Twimmer.com

  28. Pingback: Mash123 » Should Journalists Be On Twitter? Three Quarters Of NYTimes Readers Don’t Think So.

  29. Pingback: TibTV » Blog Archive » Should Journalists Be On Twitter? Three Quarters Of NYTimes Readers Don’t Think So.

  30. Pingback: ジャーナリストはTwitterを使うべきか? NYTimes読者の4分の3は否定的

  31. Pingback: The Hopkinson Report » Episode 69: Hope you enjoyed the Twitter era, here come the rules.

  32. Pingback: The regulation of social media and transparency « Reporting 1 Blog

  33. Pingback: Ethics of social media for journalists | Save the Media

  34. Pingback: Organizational vs Individual representation in social media « 46alpha

  35. Businesses are rightfully concerned about liability. Especially for media outlets, they work very hard to monetize every bit of news that they can. One must take a balanced approach to their policy regarding posts that may reflect on their business.

  36. Awesome post. I’m writing my college paper’s policy right now and this really helped me sort out what I want to include. I’m probably going to post about it later today. I’ll link back here because I think this is some useful info for fellow college journalists.

  37. Newspaper heads’ paranoia about social media is clearly why, in too many cases, they are afraid to embrace even the simplest of new media available to them

  38. Yeah, a lot of newspapers are afraid they’re going to lose money when they’re publishing most of their headlines online. Less papers bought = less money. Or so that’s what they think. I’d say: put some Google Ads and banners online for some serious ROI!

  39. Pingback: Would you pay for online news | Save the Media

  40. The Washington Post has some excellent guidelines regarding Social Media: I like it how much effort they put into it. It really IS necessary though: the moment you lose track of the rules, your company will begin to look like a fool.

  41. Pingback: The Twitter rules, AP Style and baba ghanoush… | Hypertext

  42. Pingback: The Twitter rules, AP Style and baba ghanoush… | Text 100

  43. Pingback: Getting Social: On the Vanguard of a New Media Policy | nadjastudio20

  44. Pingback: Top Save the Media posts in 2011 | Save the Media

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>